Royal St David's Golf Club Course Review - one of Wales' premier links courses is set over ideal coastal terrain and features a particularly demanding last five holes

Royal St David’s Golf Club Course Review

Green Fee Range: £40-£75

Medal Tee: Par 69 – 6,403 Yards

Visitor Times: Every day – the on-line booking system is available for whenever there is no competition in place

Website: www.royalstdavids.co.uk

Significant Changes

Numerous changes and improvements have been made to the course over the last couple of years, with the focus on enhancing the golfer’s experience through maintenance of the Championship links and significant improvements to the overall presentation. Following an incredibly wet winter (15/16) with the course forced to close for a long period due to flooding, it is now back on track.

Royal St David’s Golf Club Course Review 

Royal St David's Golf Club Course Review

This premier Welsh links at Harlech on the West coast owes its Royal patronage to HRH The Prince of Wales – later Edward VIII – who was captain in 1934.

It plays over essentially flat linksland between a tall dune ridge on the coastal side and an imposing 13th-century castle on the town side, underneath which the course sets out over a front nine that slowly builds towards a splendid back nine.

The par-3 4th, with its raised green, stands out early on, while the back-to-back par 5s on the 7th and 8th represent the links’ full quota of three-shotters.

The pace quickens as the course begins to skirt the dune ridge more closely on the 9th, with a string of magical back-nine moments following in its wake, from the semi-blind 220-yard 14th, to the stirring 15th.

Royal St David's Golf Club Course Review

The viewing steps behind the 16th provide both a rare glimpse of the sea and an elevated view of a seemingly modest par 4, where clusters of pot bunkers up at the green add to the test.

Overall, this is a links that places strong demands on good positional play and willing acceptance of the odd rogue bounce.

The club has recently embarked on an extensive improvement programme that has already seen a new front bunker on 17, and much clearing work to strip back some of the bramble, blackthorn and gorse, so it may look very different next time you visit.

Royal St David’s Golf Club Course Review – Golf Monthly Verdict

Always conscientiously maintained and good value for money

Rob Smith Visits…

I returned to Royal St. David’s on an overcast morning last Summer after a gap of something like thirty years and a Winter that had ravaged the course and kept it closed for weeks. Terrific effort and success by the greenkeeping team were evident and the course was back in excellent shape with plenty going on throughout the club to improve the visitor experience.

Number 44 in the 2017/18 Golf Monthly Top 100, this is a superb links and a real test of golf. It opens with one of seven par 4s over 400 yards, this one watched over by the medieval castle.

The first green offers views back to the castle

Two more two-shotters lead you to the opening par 3 which plays very long into a westerly breeze.

The short fourth is the first of eight holes on the far side of the sea path

A pair of tough par 4s is followed by back-to-back par 5s which may offer chance of some points, again depending on the wind. These lead you to the northern end of the layout at the par-3 9th.

The par-3 ninth is at the far end of the course

The back nine starts with anther challenging par 4, and I love the par-3 11th which demands accuracy and perfect club selection.

The lovely, short eleventh – SI18 but a potential card wrecker

As you face the castle again on the next tee, you must not be distracted from your task of getting as far down the fairway as possible.

Best not to top your drive at the twelfth

Two more tough par 4s sandwich the 14th, a brute of a par 3 to a hidden green.

Looking back over the fifteenth green from the sixteenth tee

The round concludes with two more par 4s and a closing one-shotter which is played over an expanse of trouble.

The closing green and clubhouse at Royal St. David’s

I was delighted to finally make it back to Harlech and experience this great links as well as hear about plans for its continued improvement.

Thirty years between visits is too long!

 

On their own, the beauty of the scenery all along this coastline and inland have huge appeal. Add a game at Royal St. David’s into the equation and I would recommend a visit to any keen golfer.